A 50-year-old woman and a schoolboy were among the five people who succumbed to swine flu in Maharashtra Wednesday, taking India's death toll to 17 in the 10 days since the first fatality.
Nita Meghani, 50, who was admitted to the Sassoon Hospital in a critical condition four days ago, died Wednesday afternoon, the Maharashtra Swine Flu Control Room said.
Babu Genu Kuland, a school student, died in the same hospital at about 11 a.m. A resident of Pimpri town near here, Babu was hospitalised three days ago in a serious condition, according to Pune Municipal Corporation (Health Department) chief S.R. Pardeshi.
Earlier in the day, three more persons -- two in Pune and one in Nashik -- succumbing to the virus even as schools, colleges and cinema halls in Mumbai were shut down to check the spread of the infection.
29-year-old Shrawani Deshpande and 33-year-old Balu Kuland died due to the disease in Pune, taking the toll in the
worst hit city in Maharashtra to 8, officials said.
Nashik registered its first flu death when 38-year-old doctor Rupesh Gangurde died of the viral infection at the Nashik civil hospital this morning. He was admitted to a private hospital on Monday after he complained of vomitting and fever. His blood sample was sent to Pune and he tested positive for H1N1.
So far, the flu has claimed a total of 15 lives -- one each in Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Thane, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, two in Mumbai and eight in Pune.
With the infection spreading fast, the Maharashtra government ordered closure of schools and colleges in Mumbai for a week and theatres and multiplexes for three days. The decision was taken as part of preacautionary measures to check the infection, a senior state government official said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena and NCP appealed to people to observe 'dahi-handi' programmes on the occasion of Janamasthami on a low key to check the virus from spreading.
Swine flu cases countrywide have crossed the 1,000 mark with 119 fresh cases being reported till yesterday.